Reviews of Ascending Spiral

Here are all the reviews I could find (obsessives of the world, unite!). It was quite a detective task because at certain times Barnes & Noble required anonymous reviews, and Amazon has often removed reviews for no discernible reason, and some people had fun posting identical reviews on different sites under different names, and I’ve even found a few people posting different reviews under one name or another at various sites. So, I am proud of my private investigator skills.

They are listed by alphabetical order of reviewer’s name, insofar as I could determine that.

If you find yourself here, you are welcome to send me a 50 word bio to go with it, which can be promotional.

If you have bought Ascending Spiral anywhere, in any format, send me your review and I’ll insert it. Doing so qualifies you for an electronic copy of any of my other books (unless you got the book free from me, of course).

A – E below F – L M – R S – Z

Michael Amos

It is not often I have the chance to write a review for a book I feel more connected to than merely relating with its story. Ascending Spiral flows beautifully from life to life: each segment is itself complete yet part of a unified whole. This is part of a greater narrative of lessons each of us needs to learn to be happy. While packed with guidance, the prose never stops to preach, as it instead recounts authentically the experiences of the author. These lives stretch across both time and different levels of being. Understanding ourselves as explicitly human often characterises our need to constantly validate our ego. In our attempts to grow, understand, and become stronger, we often miss the bigger picture. Instead, Ascending Spiral shows that we are greater, and inferior to a being that aims to live a simple human life. Yet, simply living a human life is the core message of the novel. It shows that open mindedness about our life, past lives and the lives of others is crucial in moving forward.

What fascinated me most about this story was that despite a change in protagonist, I always felt I was travelling and learning with the same person. Despite moving from drastically different lives, I still held anticipation for the next chapter, even if the next chapter was a completely different life, as I knew it to be part of the same ongoing journey. This is why learning about our past can give many insights into the way our lives are lived today.

So, if like many, you are overwhelmed by the exponential growth of our lives, technology, information and the need to keep up, then take a break, breathe, and read this book. We live in a time where we need to quickly learn and adapt to new lifestyles if we and the next generation are to survive on this Earth. Learning to live simply is embracing the moments of clarity that can happen only when we are not preoccupied with the multitude of actions and reactions packed in our day to day experiences. Reading this book will give you that moment of clarity.

Amanda Armstrong

When was the last time a book actually made you think…?

I began this book with some trepidation. I had never considered too deeply my views on reincarnation. However, from the moment I started to read, I was instantly drawn to the characters and engaged by the style of writing. Despite being a complex topic, the story flowed beautifully and was incredibly easy to read. So much so that I finished it in two days!

Not only is the emotion clearly conveyed but the whole book is so very thought provoking. Once I’d finished it, I sat for a moment, pondering the message that had been written. It really does make you consider the ‘bigger picture’ and want to aim to be a better person. A wonderful read!

Amanda has been writing short stories and poetry since she could hold a pen. Her novel, Rose, was published in 2011. Her second novel, Ten Yen True, was co-authored with her aunt after a mysterious coin appeared. Amanda lives in Kent, UK with her husband and daughter and is currently working on the sequel to Ten Yen True.

Greg Austin

Apart from being a marvellously insightful story about how we interact within our human and natural environments–I could not put it down. My usual quick visit to the coffee shop ended an hour or so later reading this gripping adventure story. Highly recommend this author.

Greg Austin has published sci-fi novels, shorts and screenplays for adults and children. He won 2nd place at the Fantastic Planet Film Festival and A Night of Horror 2012, for Ritual. This has added to several awards since his debut novel, Fallen City won an Eppie Award for best sci-fi 2003.

Lauren B

There has been a lot of praise for Bob Rich’s Ascending Spiral: Humanity’s Last Chance, and after reading this strange splice between spiritual and historical fiction, I can definitely understand why. Although not my usual genre, I decided to read this book in any case as I enjoy reading historical fiction… I’d made the right decision.

I believed the story to be quite straightforward with the introduction of our protagonist Pip Lipkin, but the more I read, the more I realized just how layered and involved the plot was. Not just a simple immigrant making a new life in Australia, Pip is actually a 12,000-year-old alien life form trying to atone for his sins by living the lives of many humans on the planet Earth.

One incarnation is Dermot — an Irish boy living through the horrors of the English invasion of Ireland. Forced into being a soldier, Dermot does all that he can to help his people. His efforts land him very far from home where feelings of jealousy and rage slowly build within him. In a whiskey-fuelled rage, Dermot makes the decision that would ultimately end his life… except that it is not the end of his spiritual life.

His next incarnation is that of a young woman who has married a tyrant of a man. Forced to endure years upon years of this man’s hostility, anger and physical abuse, Amelia finally learns the lessons that Dermot never did, however unconsciously. She manages to change the path of her son, leaving him with a more lasting impression than his father could have ever left.

With another life lived in between, we’re finally reintroduced to Pip. As he embarks on his own spiritual enlightenment, all the pieces and people from his old lives fall into place — a random event in one life is somehow connected to the present, the people he finds an instant affinity to are old friends and beloved family members. Everyone and everything that has been involved in Dermot’s and Amelia’s lives has a role in Pip’s current life.

There’s a deep spiritual undertone to this book. It’s about learning from past errors, embracing those lessons in your current life and learning to become a better informed, well-rounded human being. Rich’s storytelling ability — especially with Dermot and Amelia’s stories — is exceptional. I really could find no fault as I was willingly dragged into their worlds in both Ireland and colonial outback Australia.

Dr Rich’s passion for psychology and spirituality as well as a deep investment in environmental science can be found throughout. I found that I enjoyed the first two ‘lives’ much more than the next few. Two were a little too scientific/sci-fi for my particular tastes, although I must applaud Rich on his creativity and insight.

At the end of Ascending Spiral, you might see the pieces of Pip’s life and recognise where they fit, but it’s not until a few hours later upon some reflection that you really see the bigger picture — the completed jigsaw puzzle if you want to think of it that way. Ascending Spiral is a masterfully created story with a message that stays with the reader long after the final words have been read.

Darrell Bain

Bob Rich has crafted a very unusual novel and in the process he delved into both the virtues and vices of the human race. Despite bringing into focus the myriad ways humans can be so cruel and vicious toward each other and toward groups with different attitudes or beliefs than their own, he contrasts this bloody-mindedness of our species with the way we are also capable of deep love and sacrifice in response to the suffering of others.

Rich uses a central character in different guises to tie epochs together that span continents and millennia, ranging from Viking times to the modern era and beyond. What he does in the process makes us think about what we’re reading despite the tendency to become absorbed in a truly memorable novel.

Bob Rich’s concern for and appreciation of the environment of Earth stands out clearly, connecting man and Earth in a bond, one that is too easily broken and certainly not taken seriously enough.

When you pick up this book and turn the first page, prepare yourself for a journey through history that is accurate and deeply moving despite scenes that sometimes depict all too well how often and how badly we treat those different from us. A book to remember and re-read.
Darrell writes wonderful science fiction, and also books that give you great belly laughs. His writing has won a large number of prizes and awards, and before Barnes and Noble bought and gutted Fictionwise, he was that web site’s top seller a number of times, and with reason.

Magdalena Ball

Dr Pip Lipkin has lived for 12,000 years, in many lives, different sexes, and even different species and he’s here for a reason. Dr Bob Rich’s Ascending Spiral is a true genre-buster, incorporating elements of historical fiction, literary fiction, science fiction, and even a hint of nonfiction to create an entertaining novel with an important message.

Beautifully researched, the book opens in present day, but quickly moves back to 805-806 AD, where the first person protagonist is named Padraig, and he is fighting a Viking attack. The book then moves into the life of Dermot, an Irishman dealing with the campaign of repression conducted by the English against the Irish during this period. Dermot’s section is the longest, taking the reader through full scale war, vigilantism, transportation to Australia as a convict, slavery, life on a station as a free man, and the committing of a terrible crime. Dermot’s act has repercussions that take him into the next chapter of his existence, as Amelia, a woman who has to experience the consequences of Dermot’s crime again and again. When Amelia dies, our protagonist experiences something completely different — a life that is free of gender and hate — focused solely on survival and the support of the species. The next life jumps to 10,000 BCE, where, as a giant space flower, the protagonist commits a thoughtless but devastating crime, the likes of which forms the basis for the atonement and multiple births throughout the novel. The final section belongs to Pip, bringing us back to the start.

Pip is the most evolved being and the development from Padraig to Pip is the ascending spiral the title refers to. Along the way he learns (and teaches us) about the meaninglessness and pain of war, about greed and violence, about the folly of our desperation for happiness over wisdom, about the beauty and delicacy of our planet, and about the power of love and forgiveness to change these cycles. The themes of the book are Buddhist, showing us the Samsara or “the cycle of birth and death” and the lessons we all need to learn in order to evolve ourselves and to save our rapidly dying world. Though the ultimate purpose of the book does appear to be didactic — global warming and impending environmental catastrophe are generally accepted within the mainstream scientific community as proven fact — and the parallels between Dr Lipkin and the author’s own studies are probably the subject of at least a few fascinating interviews, the story reads well as fiction, creating each world entirely so that the reader becomes engrossed in the historical time and place along with the protagonist. The overall message is delivered with subtlety and sophistication, and the descriptions are particularly powerful, especially in Dermot’s section where we move from war-torn Ireland to NSW. The long, painful journey by boat is evocative, as this example from Dermot’s time in solitary confinement shows:

    Water constantly seeped through the timbers of the ship. I had no way of measuring time, except that every now and then two men came, one carrying a lantern, the other a bit of food. Four extra soldiers came the first time, and the doctor carrying clothes. They allowed me to dress before shackling me to the chain again. On every second or third occasion, they also had an Irishman along, who brought an empty bucket and took away the one I’d filled. I did have company: rats scurrying around. At first, I was concerned they might bite me, but this didn’t happen and after a while I ignored them.

The space flower descriptions were also well done — adding a fun sci-fi twist to the story and showing Rich’s scientific bent:

    The fifth planet was unique in my experience. It twinkled everywhere with low-energy emissions over a wide band of wavelengths. That was pretty to look at, but utterly baffling. I couldn’t think of any natural phenomenon that’d account for this kind of radiation, and it clearly had a water-oxygen sheath. I’d heard of small, primitive, unintelligent life forms on planetary surfaces, but of course they were not in a deadly corrosive environment like this planet’s. (p 94)

Through each section there are a number of important threads that link the novel together, including the recurring cycle of racism and prejudice in all of its forms, of uncontrolled hunger and its ability to damage, and of the healing power of sympathy, connection and perception. All of these threads come together through a series of stories that are historically engaging and powerful, at times whimsical, and above all, meticulously presented. Ascending Spiral is a book that will take the reader to many different places and times, showing, ultimately, that our differences and divisions, even at their most devastating, are less important than our similarities. This is an important and timely novel full of wisdom and insight.

Magdalena Ball is the reviewer at the Compulsive Reader and also has her own radio show. Hers was the first advance review of Ascending Spiral.

Beverley Bateman

This is a complex book spanning a period of 12,000 years to the present through Pip’s eyes.

Pip travels through time as various souls, first descending downward into violence and cruelty and then climbing back up as he learns how to become a better man, one who can work to save humanity.

He needs to “…learn the lesson of forgiveness; heal hurt, and lead people from despair and helplessness to strength and Love… what it’s like to be without the pain of loving.”

It’s a plea to look at the world as it is and what we’re doing to it and to create a sustainable society.

It’s not your typical read or a specific genre as it touches on history, reincarnation, the paranormal, contemporary, and love.

The story is well written and it will grip you and keep you reading from one century and one chapter to the next. I highly recommend it and particularly liked the message at the end. It can also be found at Amazon and other e-book stores.

Beverley’s blog presents two thoughtful reviews a month. I was privileged to have Ascending Spiral as one of the first pair. She also posts “Tips and updates on writing, interviews, my writing progress, group blog and miscellaneous stuff.”

Claude Beccai

As I started to read Ascending Spiral by Dr Bob Rich I had absolutely no idea what the book was about and its title gave me no clue. The prologue though should have helped but I am dense and I so love stories that I thought it was just a different tack for the author to introduce some kind of fairy tale of a gentle visiting alien landed on Earth to ease our ills. It turned out that I was right after all; outside of the fairy tale bit that I am sure the author would strongly object to, Pip the hero of this tale is a gentle extra-terrestrial. The narratives of the four lives lived at successive historical periods are compelling, written with skill and precision. The emotions of the protagonists ring true.

Sensitive but never mushy, Rich is capable of impartiality. The protagonists and the societies in which they evolve are described with accuracy, seldom judgmental. The life stories ooze with compassion for the foibles of the human race. The last part is the loud and convincing cry of an enlightened man to warn us to amend our ways before it is too late. I enjoyed Rich’s work immensely and thank him for his true commitment to propose a workable redemption for our destructive ways to live and abuse our home planet.

Brian Burt

This is an elegant story, a multilayered tale that traces the protagonist through a series of lives that connect a terrible sin from his distant past to the painful trials he endures to expiate those sins. Before he is Dr. Pip Lipkin, the central character takes the reader through the desperate adventures of Padraig and Dermot in old Ireland as they fight to protect their loved ones from brutal invaders; to the shores of Australia aboard a prison ship where convicts are doomed to be little more than property; to an isolated Outback ranch where gentle housewife Amelia suffers life-long torment at the hands of an abusive, violent husband. But life experiences drawn across a wide arc of human history, in different places, roles, and genders, are not enough. The being destined to become Pip also travels to a distant star system and planet, where he abandons gender (and humanity) altogether and battles to survive in predator-filled jungles as a sentient, ambulatory plant. This “unearthly” world is wondrous, strange, vividly rendered, and delightfully alien.

Pip’s reincarnations are far from random. Each life is filled with teachers, many unwitting, and painful lessons to be learned. Each death leads to a careful examination of the merits, missteps, and regrets of the life just lived, so that his spirit can chart the course of his next incarnation based on the lessons still unlearned. These lives are rich stories unto themselves, but together they trace the “ascending spiral” of the protagonist’s spiritual evolution: his atonement for past sins and progression toward a more enlightened state of consciousness. As Pip Lipkin, he knows he faces the final test of his existence as a “short-lived planet-dweller.” This time, he will either perish with the self-destructive human race or help them achieve the societal balance that can avert disaster.

I found this to be a fascinating novel, melding historical fiction with science fiction, philosophy, and metaphysics. This is more than just entertainment: it is fiction with a message. The reader is left wondering how Pip’s (and our own) tale will end. Will we achieve the wisdom Pip wins, at great cost, through centuries of pain and personal tragedy? Or, instead of that ascending spiral, will we spiral downward, repeating the same mistakes until our time runs out? Pip Lipkin is a compelling character, full of passion and despair and regret and, in spite of everything, hope. I wish there was a way to conjure him into reality, because we need him. But maybe the author intends us to realize that we each need to conjure a spark of Pip in our own lives, for the good of our species and our planet.

This book lingers in the mind long after the last line is read. That’s the power of well-imagined fiction with a meaningful message. Read it, enjoy it, and consider joining Pip’s team!

Bronx Reviewer

Ascending Spiral is an interesting and original book, which takes the reader through a breathtaking journey. The writing is lucid and helps you get deep into the story, and you may find yourself looking up to see that hours have passed! Check this out, you won’t be disappointed.

BronxRev is one of Amazon’s “top reviewers.” I am honoured at having my book noticed by this person.

Cathy Brownfield

Ascending Spiral by Robert Rich is not your typical read. A novel told in stories joined together by a common thread or two, the novel defies genre distinction, provokes thought, causes the reader to recall the past, and hope for the future. The cycle of life is woven through history, the psyche, and spirituality. Rich invites you to follow his character, Pip Lipkin, on his spiritual journey through space and time.

Padraig, a shepherd boy in Ireland falls in love. The Vikings land. There is aggression, resistance, war, death, conquering and enlightenment. The religious conflict in Ireland brews around the life of Dermot nearly a thousand years later. “The bloody English” bring aggression, which births resistance, that boils into war, death, conquering and enlightenment. Dermot and others are found guilty of treason against the Crown when England wants to expand its borders to include the Green Isle. The traitors are shipped to New South Wales, Australia for life. Dermot, after a valiant effort as a soldier for his people, becomes a criminal, at last falling dead as he commits a terrible crime.

Dermot thinks, “I should become her… I should have the power, the ability to ease hurt, to lead people from hate and despair to strength and love.”

Amelia is born in the 19th Century. She marries into bondage to a man who regards her only as his property. He isolates her, regularly rapes her and the Aborigine women employed on his plantation. She is the mistress, the peacemaker. And her good deeds, she hopes, will win her freedom one day.

The Great Chain of Being continues from humans through plant life. Everything in the Universe is believed to contain some amount of life force. Through reincarnation the narrator experiences the cycle of plant life. “A Walking Plant will die for the love of others of her kind… In my next life I need to continue to defend the weak, the victim, but then progress to doing so without hurting the aggressor.”

The next incarnation is Space Flower living in 10,000 BCE. “Before my drift to the periphery, life had been vital, interesting and meaningful. Now it became a bore. I used to be famous for the beauty of my forms. Now my best was nothing compared to the ordinary of others. I used to be involved in many endeavors. Now I could only observe. So I stopped trying…” And died.

Death and life are illusions, writes Rich. All people as individual entities are illusions. “There is just the One, and we all are parts of it…”

In contemporary times, Pip grew up a hated Jew although he claims to be a Buddhist Jew. He fixes spiritually and emotionally broken people for a living because one life is brief and there is the belief that we get to repeat until we get it right. But who knows what the future holds? Rich wants to share his thoughts about that with you through Ascending Spiral.

This atypical tale is thought-provoking. The reader can take the major points of the book to craft a measuring stick for the Self to determine, “If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”

Cathy Thomas Brownfield, a former print news journalist in Northeast Ohio, USA, is a short story writer published in nationally-circulated magazines and anthologies.

Frances Burke

Ascending Spiral is a metaphysical novel with a powerful message. The violence marking each episode is a deliberate evocation of the darkness that is inherent in mankind, and the theme, therefore, shines like a silver thread of promise — the idea that we are capable of loving forgiveness of ourselves and, more particularly of others.

The spiral of one soul’s journey begins 12,000 years ago, although this is not where the book begins. Padraig lives in 9th C Ireland and his early death at the hands of a Viking starts our common journey. We join him as he is reborn into many lives, sometimes as a woman, always in expiation for a failing and as a learning process that will advance the soul on its upward journey towards perfection.

The historical background for each period has been meticulously researched and is often so interesting that it’s a shock to be forced to leave for another time and place. Nothing, of course, to the shock experienced by our protagonist, who does, however, start to understand the process and value the opportunity to redress the wrongs he has perpetrated through suffering and just through being human.

The way of karma rings true for many people, and this book is a very well written and thoughtful explanation of its message. It is also an exciting, historically accurate series of linked stories that will hold the reader in his chair for a single sitting.

Highly recommended.

Frances Burke is a Sydney-based writer with a love of travel and have so far published fourteen historical novels, each set in a different country and usually against a background of war or civil unrest. The past is endlessly fascinating, and I bring it alive, peopling it with men and women who are hardy and adventurous, and willing to travel beyond the boundaries of polite society.

Cafarell

Ascending Spiral is a riveting, well written tale of one soul’s reincarnations, lifetime after lifetime. The story has a fascinating premise, and offers a glimpse into history as well. The seemingly unrelated prequel may put off some readers, but keep reading! It all ties together in the end. I’m glad I got to read this one.

Robert William Case

Bob, Your latest book, Ascending Spiral, came along on our recent vacation and I enjoyed it immensely. The writing is good and the message is better. So much so that I’m meeting with a counselor in a few weeks to do a past life regression of my own. Here is my review for your consideration:

In his latest work, Ascending Spiral, Bob Rich embraces the power of the purposeful life. Assuming a narrative pose, the author escorts modern readers through a series of incarnations of his evolving, principal character, Pip. Over a span of 12,000 years, Dr Pip Lipkin atones through a series of lives into an oxygen breathing, carbon-based life form, living on the edge of an endangered planet. It is character development on a karmic scale, taking the reader from far-flung corners of the English empire, into fantastical times and places where alien lifeforms live out complex lives. Each life is its own hero’s journey, rich with love, danger and drama. All of them interweave into the metaphysical ascending spiral.

And the author does not stop there. Ascending Spiral is a call to action. Dr. Rich demands that the reader take stock of his or her role on this planet we call home. He pointedly asserts that we did not come into these lives to make money, or to be better than our neighbors. Instead, we are here to learn lessons about connection and higher purpose. Our task, therefore, is to create a sustainable society and to work for the survival of our planet. Ascending Spiral is a very readable and challenging book for compassionate thinkers worldwide.

Rob first traveled to the eastern Mediterranean after dropping out of college in the 1970s. Next came marriage and fatherhood, but the sirens of the ancient legends and myth still called. Robert’s first book, Daedalus Rising was published in 2008. The journey continues with Wingbuilder, the first volume of a trilogy of historical fiction about the rise of the Minoan civilization and its fall, in the wake of a cataclysmic volcanic eruption. Robert obtained a MS in geophysics from the University of Utah and a JD from the University of Denver.

Cassandra

Sometimes you know what to expect the moment you pick up a book, but that definitely wasn’t the case with Ascending Spiral. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what I would think of the book, as it is a little bit outside of my comfort zone. More than anything, this book acted as a reminder that I should step outside of my comfort zone more often. I came away from the book with so many thoughts and emotions about myself and about my fellow man. A book that can make you think that much is well worth the read.

Despite the challenging subject matter, Ascending Spiral was actually a very natural book to read and the story flowed very well. Even though I don’t believe in the concepts of reincarnation that are the emphasis of the book, the book was very well written and deserves more stars than I can give it. Perhaps if more people take the time to books like this we could grow as a species, however, I do doubt that would be the case.

Christina St Clair

This is an inclusive metaphysical book. Christian, New Age, Buddhist, and Psychological views are employed to give an important message which eventually leads to a strong emphasis on Conservationism. All are aimed at producing greater individual understanding and a better, safer, cleaner world for everyone.

I applaud the author for his engaging story of Pip’s lives, beginning in the present day where Pip is a counselor. The prologue was so engaging that it made me want to read more.

Pip in one past life is an Irishman called Dermot fighting the tyranny of English oppressors. I got a real sense of Ireland and I liked Dermot even though his vengeance against the cruel invaders knew no end. I felt so sad at the abuse the “convicts” (including Dermot), transported to Australia suffered.

Pip in another life is born again as an innocent woman, Amelia, who lives with an abusive husband. She is a very strong person in a winning story about Outback life which explores the struggles of powerlessness including the plight and wisdom of Aborigines.

There are some other lives lived by Pip too, gems of creativity that explore other aspects of being both human and non-human.

Pip, in each of his many lives that span the ages learns many lessons — from survival of the fittest to the need for speaking truth to power — on his journey to spiritual maturity. Reincarnation, it seems to me, is one way to understand suffering. I particularly liked the karmic idea that we reap what we sow but we get chances to experientially learn from our past and change ugly behaviors.

The book is rich (forgive the pun) with wisdom and words of advice that resonate as true and are genuinely helpful. We really need to heed Bob Rich’s words and emphasis on living simply, giving up lust for vengeance and power, learning to forgive, trusting the process of our, in this case, many lives, to become better developed people who contribute to the betterment of the All, which includes animals, insects, plants, people, the earth and other worlds.

In the ending story we learn about Pip’s journey in his current life. It is interesting, moving and as engaging as the beginning.

Christina St. Clair, award winning author, former shop-girl, chemist, and pastor, is currently a spiritual director, Reiki Master, wife, animal lover, and writer. Ten Yen True, a novel co-authored with Amanda Armstrong, fulfilled the promise of mysticism, fun, healing, and hope.

Rhobin Courtwright

The story begins in 2011 where Dr. Pip, a psychologist, is communicating with his patients, and then he tells the reader his existence spans 12,000 years. The suffering he has endured has steeled him for his job to help save humanity. The remaining story is divided into some of his reincarnations beginning with Padraig, who lived in the early ninth century AD. Padraig meets this being’s love for the first time, a woman named Sheilagh. The name changes but she reappears through the story. Their island community is raided by Vikings. Then Pip goes through life as Dermot, an Irish Rebellion rebel, who ends up transported to New South Wales, Australia. His next consciousness is as Amelia, a woman trapped as a possession-wife. Pip even goes through a period as an intelligent plant on another planet (not so farfetched for someone who already believes in plant intelligence), and then as the being whose sins begins this soul’s journey. The last part is Pip’s life, which is also plagued with prejudice, bullying, hatred, and abandonment. Pip also works to overcome his own negativity, but delivers the final warning to all humanity.

Each story of Pip’s character evolution contains emotional situations, adversity, and also some awareness of previous lives, plus a historical placement. This gives Ascending Spiral: Humanity’s Last Chance aspects of both a historical and a science fiction novel that evolves into psychological character studies about the human condition. While it has philosophical and religious overtones, it is not about either. Who the intelligence talking to Pip after his many deaths is unclear and left questions about what was beyond his sentience, and whether this is Pip’s last life. Will he evolve again, or is it a situation where all humans must reach a certain level of ethical integrity to save ourselves and our world? This is left to the reader to judge.

As a reader, I agree with the precept of the novel’s final warning, and found Pip’s many incarnations entertaining. The idea of the other characters also being on their own transformative journeys but in groups that influenced each other repeatedly in different lives seemed somewhat strange, and that these souls were at different stages in their development raised questions that distracted me from the reading. A few long sections of a character telling of their past rather than enacting it slowed my reading. However, the ideas behind the novel make it a worthwhile and thought invoking read.

Rhobin Lee Courtright works as an adjunct professor of communications at a local community college, teaching composition, but writing science fiction is her passion.

Theresa Crater

First off, it’s a romance. Not just any romance. What if you had to chase the woman you love through several incarnations to woo her, win her, marry her, and at long last spend a lifetime with her? We recognize this woman through her eyes, through the gestures the hero uses to stroke her face, her response to that touch. But most of all we recognize her through that deep warm glow he feels when he sees her.

What keeps them apart? The flow of history. Human mistakes. First, he is killed defending her from Vikings, then she is raped and murdered by marauding English troops in Ireland. But I won’t tell you the rest. You’ll enjoy the romance in Dr. Bob Rich’s novel Ascending Spiral.

That’s not all, because we follow our hero into the spiritual realm after his (sometimes her) lifetimes. We are invited to think about the lessons we learn on earth. What is the purpose of each life? Why do we experience some of the things we do? Dr. Rich suggests we are learning from past mistakes or making up for wrongs we’ve committed. The character becomes a man, a woman, even a plant. (And he thought that would be peaceful!) As he progresses, he is able to help others in their journeys.

Ever wonder how you ended up here on this earth at this precise moment, when the earth is up against the challenge of a toddler culture, as Dr. Rich calls it, and trying to grow into an adult culture? I enjoyed the focus on the ecology in this novel, the final call to action. This theme is tied into the original life of our hero, one that catches us by surprise. It’s a good surprise.

Allen Currie

I have never done a formal book review before, and I had to pick this one as my first. The novel may be read several ways. The first, of course, is as entertainment. In the first (of four) scenarios, Dermot the protagonist enters a life and death struggle against tyranny. Then Amelia, against another form of tyranny. And a plant-like alien life-form in a struggle for survival and survival as a species. Ultimately, thrilling as entertainment.

A man might be described as being ‘honourable’, meaning true to his own values. Where humanity fails is in assuming your values exactly mirror ‘my’ values. They don’t. Bob’s theory (which I agree with by the way) is that we are the sum of our experiences and decisions in life. And we can consciously alter ourselves for the better. In a practical sense, there is often a conflict about what is ‘good’ or ‘better’. Mankind tends to make decisions based on a short term definition of ‘good’, whereas the long term results are often devastating. Look to our pollution in pursuit of the ‘good’ life.
In the end, my view is that this novel is a thinking person’s novel. ‘Thinking person’ commonly does not sell well, although it sometimes creates a thinking revolution and often lasts for centuries.
Highly recommended, but with a warning. The novel may be disturbing. (Not necessarily with the negative connotation usually associated with that word.)

Allen is so convinced that environmental catastrophe is around the corner that he has meticulously researched how to survive when technology collapses. He sent me this review shortly before leaving all forms of electricity behind. I agree with his interpretation of the evidence, and in the 1970s, I also was motivated to survive, whatever happened. Now, I think how long doesn’t matter. How well does.

Walt Daley

Ascending Spiral captured my attention from the first page. A thought provoking and well written book that certainly challenged my own thoughts and beliefs on circumstances in my own life. I was captivated by this inner adventure of the soul and will be returning to this fine piece of literature in future. Highly recommended read for all.

Toni DeMaio

As Shakespeare said: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”

Whether or not Shakespeare intended to support the idea of reincarnation when he wrote those famous words, the quote does give us food for thought. What if we do come back to be born again and again in many different lifetimes, spanning centuries, often joining other members of our ‘soul family’ to enact dramas upon the world stage in order to learn the lessons our souls need in order to grow and advance spiritually? And if this is true, then we each have a story to tell similar to the one Bob Rich shares with us in his wonderful adventure of a book, Ascending Spiral.

Whatever your beliefs on the subject of past lives might be, you will enjoy this incredible tale with its fast moving pace and engrossing story of a soul’s progress through the ages, incarnating sometimes as a man and then as a woman, and even once as an intelligent plant. In each case the eternal soul endures, learning from each lifetime and ultimately growing through the challenges and experiences.

Whether this soul was all powerful as Dermot, or vulnerable and as powerless as the Space Flower or the lovely tragic Amelia, this soul’s true love appeared in each of these lifetimes to share the struggle and deliver the lesson.

Then finally as Pip, the curious Buddhist with a Masters in Counseling Psychology, he finds answers as to why he had to live through all of this adventure. In hypnotherapy with another psychologist, Caroline, a soul revealed to be from one of his past lives, he discovers the reason for his expanded consciousness and ability to remember a past the average person can only imagine.

This brilliant book is the result. The author, a conservationist for most of this lifetime, is here to help save our injured planet from extinction. His ultimate message: “My task is to inspire you to want a future for your kids, your grandkids, and their grandkids in perpetuity. Change “I want happiness now” to “I want a decent life for me, you and everyone else in harmony,” and we’re on the way.”

I recommend Ascending Spiral to everyone as there is much to learn here, and the realization that our existence on the planet is absolutely in question without immediate change is the greatest motivation of all. I give Ascending Spiral five stars.

Merisha Dol

This is not your everyday book. Its an eye opening exploration of this journey, the question of past and future lives and deaths. Of why we suffer and what we are to learn from these experiences as human beings. It is both fictitious and yet concerns every human being on this planet.

This is the type of book we should be reading, the type that stimulates thought and consideration of the consequences of our own actions on all other beings.

Thank you for sharing it with us.

About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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